HARRISBURG, Pa. (January 24) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has begun its quarterly business meeting, held virtually with commissioners and PFBC staff participating remotely, reminding anglers of the upcoming fishing season. trout across the state and the importance of being safe on ice and water.
“While there is still plenty of winter left across Pennsylvania, we are already deep into preparations for the spring trout fishing season. opening, and our team works hard to make sure every day is memorable on the water,” said Tim Schaeffer, General Manager of PFBC.
Under a change approved at its last meeting in October 2021, Pennsylvania has returned to a single day statewide trout season opener which will occur on the first Saturday of each year. April, and in 2022 will take place on Saturday 2 April. Young Mentee Trout Day will take place on Saturday, March 26.
To accommodate the first season for trout statewide, anglers were also reminded that pre-season trout stocking operations are scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 21 and that the CBFP will welcome volunteers to help distribute approximately 3.2 million hatchery-reared adult trout to hundreds of waterways. throughout the state throughout the 2022 season. 2022 trout stocking schedules are expected to be available on the FishBoatPA mobile app and PFBC website (www.fishandboat.com) beginning February 1. .
“It’s an exciting time of year as we prepare for the incredible task of moving millions of trout from our hatcheries to hundreds of waterways across the state,” Schaeffer added. “Seeding during the pandemic has been a challenge, but we have learned a lot over the past two seasons about protecting our staff and volunteers. This year we will again be working hard to stock trout in the safest and most efficient way possible, while delivering the best product to our anglers in time for opening day. From stocked trout to our phenomenal wild trout waters, there really will be something for everyone this spring.
Schaeffer also noted that many lakes in Pennsylvania are currently covered in ice, which presents opportunities for ice fishing.
“Ice fishing can be a really fun way to enjoy the beauty of winter,” Schaeffer said. “Please, if you venture out on the ice this winter, check the ice thickness carefully, fish with others, carry safety equipment such as ice punches, and always wear a life jacket. Cold water kills, so remember life jackets are mandatory on all canoes and kayaks and watercraft under 16 feet from November 1 through April 30.
Schaeffer described improvements to the agency’s online licensing system and encouraged anglers to purchase their 2022 fishing licenses by visiting the FishBoatPA mobile app, www.fishandboat.com, or a local issuing agent. “With improvements to the online license buying experience and the fact that you can now store your license on your phone, getting ready for the 2022 fishing season has never been easier. Thank you in advance for choosing to fish and sail in Pennsylvania in 2022. You’ll be glad you did!”
R3 Scholarship Program
Commissioners approved an R3 Educational Grant in the amount of $150,000 to Venture Outdoors of Pittsburgh to support the establishment of a First Catch Center pilot program for Pittsburgh. First Catch Centers are a concept of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) designed to bring fishing and boating experiences to urban communities. A First Catch Center was established in Philadelphia in 2018 and is maintained with funding bequeathed to the CBFP by the Samuel Gaun Estate. In 2021, the CBFP partnered with Venture Outdoors to apply for a grant through the Richard King Mellon Foundation (RKM), which had sought to support programs aimed at recruitment, retention and conservation reactivation ( R3). The $150,000 grant from RKM will be a direct grant, meaning the funds will be awarded to CBFP and then distributed to Venture Outdoors. In addition to the RKM grant, the CBFP will provide approximately $70,000 in in-kind consideration for the Pittsburgh pilot program, and RBFF will provide $25,000 to purchase a freight trailer and make necessary modifications. The Pittsburgh pilot program is expected to be implemented by Venture Outdoors beginning in the spring of 2022 and ending in the fall of 2023, during which time 50 educational programs will be conducted.
Council approved the publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Bowfishing. While the use of longbows, crossbows, spears, and gigs used in bowfishing is already regulated in the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Code (58 Pa. Code §63.8), the proposed amendment addresses an increasing number of complaints to PFBC law enforcement regarding the intense lighting and generator noise that can be created by those involved in bow fishing. The amendment would prohibit bow fishing in all special regulated trout waters; make it illegal to shine direct rays of a searchlight, mounted beacon or any other artificial light of any kind from a watercraft onto any occupied building or onto any other watercraft; and limit the noise of generators used on board a boat when bowfishing to a maximum of 90 dB(a). When measuring sound emissions, the test measurement shall be made with the sound level meter at a distance of at least four feet above the water at a point where the transom gunwale and the gunwale port or starboard cross each other. If approved during the development of the final rules at a future meeting, the amendment will become effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Commissioners have approved the publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding fishing regulations on Little Chartiers Creek, Section 05, Washington County. Under the proposal, Section 05, which extends approximately half a mile from the outlet of Canonsburg Lake to its confluence with Chartiers Creek, would be removed from the list of waters managed under various special regulations. Although Section 05 is not managed by the CBFP as Stored Trout Water (STW), a miscellaneous special regulation has been in place since the early 1980s which prohibits angling from the end extended trout season until 8:00 a.m. the morning of opening. regular season day for trout, which is usually associated with VARs. Historically, the rationale for this special regulation was to prohibit angling in Section 05 during the closed time following the stocking of trout in Canonsburg Lake, which could escape downstream into the Little Chartiers Creek. The escapement of stocked trout created undesirable and disruptive angler behavior in Section 05 and warranted management with these special regulations. During the annual regulatory review process, Board staff determined that these regulations were no longer necessary and recommended their removal. If removed, this change would simplify regulations and increase angling opportunities while continuing to provide adequate resource protection. If adopted during the development of the final rules at a future meeting, this amendment will enter into force on January 1, 2023.
The Board has approved the publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the regulation of fishing on Penns Creek, Section 03, a Class A wild trout stream with a robust population of wild brown trout in Central and Upper Counties. Mifflin. Under the proposal, a miscellaneous special regulation in place since 2014 would be removed. The current Special Miscellaneous Regulations are an experimental trout window limitation regulation that allowed year-round fishing, the use of all types of tackle, and the harvest of two trout per day from at least seven inches but less than 12 inches in length, from the opening day of the regular trout season through Labor Day, with no harvest permitted the remainder of the year. Following CBFP surveys from 2014 to 2019 which revealed the presence of larger brown trout (over 16 inches in length) and favorable feedback from anglers during this experimental period, CBFP created an Official Trout Program Slot Limit with two sub-programs in 2021. Upon the removal of the current Special Miscellaneous Rule under this proposal, Penns Creek Section 03 would be proposed for designation in the All-Tackle Trout Slot Limit Program at a next Board meeting. Note that if approved, the name of the bylaw applied to Penns Creek, Section 03, will change; however, the settlement itself would remain the same. If adopted during the development of the final rules at a future meeting, this amendment will enter into force on January 1, 2023.
Council approved the addition of eight stream sections to the list of Class A wild trout streams. Council also approved the addition of nine new waters to the list of streams Wild Trout Commission and revised the section boundaries of a currently listed water. These additions and revisions will be effective upon posting of a second notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. A list of waters proposed for Wild Trout Stream and Class A Wild Trout Stream designation can be found on the PFBC website.
Council has authorized the rental of portions of the property at Childrens Lake, Cumberland County, to the Township of South Middleton (Township). The approximately 7.63-acre property that contains the spring-fed lake is a recreation centerpiece for the Village of Boiling Springs. Support for the upcoming $3 million dam rehabilitation and improvement project at Childrens Lake, which is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2022, has been a cooperative partnership between the CBFP, the Save the Lake Campaign and the Township of South Middleton. As part of the ongoing partnership for the management of the property, the township wishes to enter into a 25-year lease with the CBFP, under which the township will be responsible for the routine maintenance, operation, repair and supervision of the lease area. The Commission will be responsible for the dam, dam facilities and water levels. The lease will also require the site to remain open to public fishing and boating, free of charge. Fishing and boating will take precedence over all other recreational activities.
The next meeting of the PFBC Board of Commissioners is scheduled for April 25-26, 2022.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission